Samuel Masury (American, ca. 18181874)
Albumenized salted paper print; 10 1/8 x 13 1/2 in. (26 x 34.6 cm)
Gilman Collection, Museum Purchase, 2005 (2005.100.869)
Samuel Masury is known primarily as an early daguerreian portraitist who learned his trade in 1842 at John Plumbe's Boston gallery. Ever interested in the latest technical and artistic refinements to the medium, he traveled to Paris in 1855 to learn the glass negative process from the Bisson brothers, whose landscapes and architectural views were internationally celebrated. Charles Greeley Loring's summer estate near Beverly, Massachusetts, on Boston's North Shore, proved to be a perfect stage to test his new knowledge. One summer day, Masury trained his camera directly into the sun and took pleasure in the comparison between the foreground's deep tonal shadows and the radiant expanse of sea and sky. This enchanting view, one of the earliest American landscapes on paper, recalls paintings by Masury's contemporary John Kensett, who frequently sketched at Loring's estate and who appears in a related photograph. It also recalls a description of Kensett's Quiet Day on the Beverly Shore: "It is a quiet coast scene, full of sultriness and reposea few white sails in the distance, a wet expanse of unruffled water, an atmosphere with oxygen in it."